Sen. Vincent J. Fumo

District Office

1208 Tasker Street
Phila, PA 19148

Harrisburg Office

545 Main Capitol
Hbg, PA 17120



________________NEWS RELEASE
State Senator

1st Senatorial District
Democratic Appropriations Committee Chairman
Room 545 Main Capitol, Harrisburg PA 17120
Internet Website:

PHONE: 717-787-5662 


     HARRISBURG, February 7, 2000 --Pennsylvania continued to experience only minimal benefit from the strong national economy in 1999, as its job growth ranking fell to 47th among the 50 states. Pennsylvania stood 45th in 1998.

     The commonwealth added just 5,900 net new jobs during the previous calendar year, a growth rate of 0.11 percent. The national rate was nearly 2 percent. The figures were compiled by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics and are based on seasonally adjusted total non-farm employment between December 1998 and December 1999.

     "This is a pretty dismal performance when compared to the rest of the nation," said Senator Vincent J. Fumo (D-Philadelphia,) the chairman of the Senate Democratic Appropriations Committee. "We are fortunate that the booming national economy is providing some new jobs for our working men and women. Without that, we would be in real trouble."

     In addition to trailing the nation overall, Pennsylvania also lagged behind each of its bordering states. The next lowest was West Virginia, which ranked 43rd with a growth rate of 0.55 percent, five times better than Pennsylvania's. Delaware ranked 9th; Maryland 17th; New York 20th; New Jersey 26th; and Ohio 38th.

     Fumo said that the extended period of national economic growth may be concealing fundamental weaknesses in Pennsylvania's approach to job creation.

     "The good times we are enjoying on a national level may be giving some state policy makers a false sense of security," Fumo said. "The Ridge Administration should be grateful that President Clinton's economic programs have been so successful." 

     He also pointed out that although the state's unemployment rate is low, that statistic counts only people who are actively seeking employment in the state. Many Pennsylvanians who were previously unable to find work have moved to states with better job climates and are thus out of the Pennsylvania calculation.

     Fumo believes Ridge Administration policies over the past five years focused too narrowly on tax cuts geared only toward big business, and relied too heavily on direct grant and loan assistance. Large corporations have continued their trend toward downsizing, while small businesses and high-tech start-up companies who are a major source of new job creation have not received broad-based tax-relief in Pennsylvania. While state business taxes had been too high, the benefits of recent reductions have not fallen to companies most likely to take advantage of them.

     He also cited the state's failure in reinvest the substantial surpluses it has accumulated. 

     "The state's tax-and-hoard policies have hurt," Fumo said. "That $1 billion sitting idle in the state treasury could have been returned to middle class working people in the form of income tax or property tax reductions, or it could have been used long ago for more wisely targeted business tax cuts.

     Fumo and other Senate Democrats called last year for tax cuts.  Several months ago, they also introduced a proposal to rebate a portion of the property tax from the large state surplus.

     "That is money that would be reinvested to stimulate the state economy," Fumo said.



Note to media: Job growth figures are available on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics web site at A